Cuttings farm Dümmen Orange Uganda, formely known as Fiduga, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. To mark this important milestone, staff, business partners and customers joined in a birthday bash at Kampala’s Nsimbe Estate on 7 October.
Ellen Mackenbach-Lakeman, CHRO of Dümmen Orange, who attended the celebrations in Uganda comments, “A beautiful milestone for a beautiful company, that has been sailing a solid course since its establishment in 1998, and under the Dümmen Orange flag since 2015. We are very proud of what we have achieved here together, and what we will still achieve in the future.”
Today, Dümmen Orange Uganda employs close to 700 employees – going up to 800 in peak season – and produces 630 million cuttings annually.
In the year 2000 it earned Quality Management System certification, which greatly enabled the farm to achieve a structured quality management system. It is now fully FSI compliant and holds certificates for MPS and Greencare.
Over the years, the farm won several accolades from the Ugandan government, such as Best Employer of the Year, Best Exporter of the Year, and Best Investor, among others.
Yaeger Adlam, managing director notes, “Our people here benefit from the worldwide Dümmen Orange Employee Development program, which gives them access to a range of internal and external training modules, and opportunities for personal and professional development. Also housing, free medical treatment from the in-house clinic, and other welfare facilities are part of our benefits for employees in Uganda.”
The history of the farm starts in 1996. Back then, John Rutten of Fides – a predecessor of Dümmen Orange – together with a team of seven people started a pilot project for producing and exporting chrysanthemum cuttings on 1,2 hectare of planted area at Nsimbe Estate.
As the pilot was successful, land was bought with the aim of expanding and investing more. The farm was officially incorporated as Fiduga on October 29, 1998.
Yaeger Adlam explains why investing in Uganda was attractive. He says, “Uganda has a benign climate year round. Good government policies towards investors made it attractive to invest. On top of that were adequate water sources and a good communications facilities infrastructure.”
Of the 40 hectare in 1998, eight hectare was planted with cut roses. Since Fiduga’s primarily focused on producing chrysanthemum cuttings, this rose area was rented out.
After three years the company decided to phase out roses in favour of chrysanthemum cuttings, and started to construct more greenhouses, as well as changing wooden greenhouses to steel.
More buildings and facilities followed including a dining hall, workshop, stores and an HR office. Staff quarters were extended, new roads constructed and old ones repaired. A Day Care Center appeared, as well as Lake Fiduga. In addition, 27 shallow wells and two bore holes were constructed to give the community access to clean water.
Management and employees of the farm also worked on improving the floriculture infrastructure in Uganda in other aspects. Yaeger Adlam concludes, “We worked closely with the Ministry of Education to revise the curriculum for those taking Agriculture at the two relevant institutions in Uganda, which are Mountains of the Moon University and Bukalasa Agriculture College. Floriculture is a separate course by itself now. This has enabled the industry in our country to get qualified employees.”